Licensing Expo Japan is coming in April. To find out more about it, I spoke with Jessica Blue, Senior Vice President, Licensing with leadership responsibilities of the global UBM licensing portfolio. In this role, Blue is responsible for steering the strategy and growth of the UBM Licensing brands and teams including Licensing Expo, Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) and License! Global magazine. Prior to this, Blue was Vice President of Licensing Expo (2012-2015), the licensing sector’s largest and most important event held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Richard: Licensing Expo Japan 2017 is coming in April. Can you give us the details on when and where?
Jessica: Licensing Expo Japan will make its debut on April 26th – April 28th, 2017 at Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center, the largest international convention and exhibition center in Japan. It’s located on the shore of Tokyo Bay and is about 30 minutes by rail from Tokyo Station. The convention center is divided into three main areas, with Licensing Expo Japan being located in West Hall 4 and will be concurrently held with Japan’s leading fashion exhibition, IFF MAGIC Japan. Show hours are 10am-6pm on April 26th-27th and 10am-5pm on April 28th. In addition to the exhibition, there are several on-site events such as educational seminars hosted by LIMA, a costume character parade, and various conferences.
Richard: This will be a very exciting event. How should potential attendees go about learning more about it, securing hotels near the Exhibition Center, etc.?
Jessica: April is one of the best seasons to visit Tokyo. Visitors will enjoy very nice weather during this time. Our travel agent is happy to support visitors to reserve a room at hotels near by the exhibition center. Visitors are able to pre-register for the event at the website www.licensingexpojapan.com and can obtain information of the official hotels, as well as instruction of how to reach the venue, Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Center. Hotels: http://www.licensingexpojapan.com/en/visit/hotel.php Access: http://www.licensingexpojapan.com/en/visit/access.php
Richard: From Pokémon to Nintendo to Anime, Japan is one of the great cultural exporters in the world. In fact, Peter Hoskin, writing for the Spectator Magazine has said: "Virtually every childhood craze of the past 30 years has its beginnings in Japan." Does this make Licensing Expo Japan a must attend event?
Jessica: Yes! Japan’s rich history of character and animation is one of the reasons that the licensing market is so robust in the territory. According to LIMA’s Global Licensing Survey, it’s the third largest licensing market in world after the USA and UK. The launch of IFF MAGIC this year meant we had a perfect partner to co-locate with, as apparel is the largest category for licensing in Japan and in the world.
Richard: What will be some of the leading Japanese brands that will be exhibiting at the show?
Jessica: We are excited to showcase more than 300 properties at the inaugural Licensing Expo Japan. Some of the leading Japanese brands that you will find on the show floor include: Astro Boy, Hoppe-chan, Panda no Tapu Tapu, Pokopan, Rilakkuma and Sumikko Gurashi. We will also have several international brands, with global appeal and recognition, such as: Nissan Motor Company, Ltd., The Simpsons, Poppy Cat, Maisey, Corvette, Sesame Street, and Garfield, among others.
Richard: Someone might say: "I already go to the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas. Why should I go to Japan as well?" How would you answer that question.
Jessica: Licensing Expo is the global meeting place for the market. 5,000 brands are represented there from all corners of the globe. However, attendees to Licensing Expo Japan will see many Japanese brands that are not represented at Licensing Expo. Similarly, attendees to our show in London see a unique set of European brands that are not represented at Licensing Expo. The brands and trends you will see at the UBM-owned Licensing shows all over the world will be different as they each serve a different territory.